PHOENIX — A new study said birth control is the key to declining pregnancy rates among Arizona teenagers.
Researchers at the Guttmacher Institute and Columbia University found the adolescent birth rate in the U.S. dropped 36 percent among 15- to 19-year-olds between 2007 and 2013.
The Guttmacher-Columbia study concluded that the increasing use and effectiveness of contraceptives is contributing to the drop, both nationwide and in Arizona.
“If a teen uses no method (of contraception), they have an 85 percent chance of getting pregnant (within a year),” Guttmacher researcher Laura Lindberg, the study’s lead author, said.
In Arizona, the Department of Health Services recently reported the state’s teen pregnancy rate for the same age group dropped 49 percent between 2004 and 2014. However, Arizona still has the 12th-highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.
The study recommended that more work be done to improve access to and use of contraception among adolescents. An Arizona leader echoed the same message.
“Fact-based information about and open access to contraception and contraceptive choices is, has been and always will be critical to reducing and preventing unintended pregnancies,” Brenda Thomas, the CEO of Arizona Family Health Partnership, said.
Arizona Family Health Partnership provides Title X funding to health centers in Arizona’s low-income communities across. Title X services include pregnancy testing, contraceptive methods and basic infertility service.